Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Ink-Slinger Profiles: Edwin Homer
Edwin Alisson Nicolaides Homer was born in Flushing, New York on January 6, 1916. His full name is from a family tree at Ancestry.com. His birthplace was mentioned in an obituary, and the date of birth is at the Social Security Death Index.
In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, he was the second of three children born to Edwin and Atalanta, who married in 1910. His father emigrated from England and was naturalized in 1905; he was a gown and dressmaker. The family lived in Flushing, Queens, New York on Highland Avenue. His mother was the sister of Kimon Nicolaides (1891–1938), a noted artist who wrote the book, The Natural Way to Draw.
Homer’s mother, a designer, was the head of the household in the 1925 New York State Census. The fate of his father is not known. They remained on Highland Avenue in Flushing.
In 1930, the family of four lived in Greenville, Westchester County, New York, on Long View Drive. Homer’s mother was a designer of gowns. Living with them was Jessica Smith, a business partner, who designed hats.
The family was together in Manhattan, New York City, when the 1940 census was enumerated. They resided at 315 East 57 Street since 1935, if not earlier. Edwin’s mother had remarried to Mr. Maher, who was not recorded with them; his whereabouts is not known. The enumerator recorded her children under the Maher surname. (Ancestry.com has the surname as “Msher”.) Homer was a commercial artist, who had four years of high school education.
Shopping Centers Today published Homer’s obituary, in December 2007, and said:
…Homer was the nephew of the renowned American artist Kimon Nicolaides, author of the influential book The Natural Way to Draw. But Homer was also a prolific artist himself. Early in his career he drew a newspaper comic strip [in 1946] called “The Duke of Manhattan.” Homer, who earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering in the Air Force, had no significant formal art training, though he did spend a considerable amount of time as a young man watching his uncle teach at The Art Students League of New York.
On January 22, 1942, Homer enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He married Barbara Tillotson in September 1942, according to the family tree. Some time after the war, he was involved in real estate and had a long and lucrative career. He continued his hobby in art. Shopping Centers Today said:
…Throughout his life Homer sketched and painted frequently. He often doodled during airplane rides and business meetings, making sketches of Big Sky and other drawings that colleagues still remember. Many of his paintings were of the wildflowers he picked in the woods surrounding his home in Metamora, Mich., where for years he hosted an annual party that drew dozens of business leaders from across the country. Many toured his studio and showroom during the yearly event. “Ed Homer always had a pencil and sketchbook in hand,” said John T. Riordan, an ICSC past president and past trustee, one of many ICSC leaders who attended Homer’s annual gathering. “Almost anyone who knew him was a beneficiary of his art in one way or another,” said Riordan, recalling the holiday cards he sent out each year featuring reproductions of his paintings and signed simply “Ed.”
In 1993, he remarried to Barbara Harding. Homer passed away December 9, 2007, in Metamora, Michigan, according to the Social Security Death Index.
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